Tasmania is one of those places that everyone needs to visit at least once in their lifetime. After spending a week travelling the southern state in a campervan, I fell in love with its natural beauty, friendly people and absolutely incredible serenity.
Here, I’ve outlined our 7-day itinerary for the east coast of Tassie just in case you need a little inspiration.
I will say this though – if you’re thinking of heading down to Tasmania, one week is definitely not enough. I could’ve easily spent a month or two exploring!
Day One: Bruny Island
I yelped in fear. The headlights on our campervan didn’t shine a great deal ahead, so by the time we saw the possum we were almost on top of it.
“Remember – if you see an animal on the road, drive straight and try not to swerve. Your life is more important than the animal’s” echoed the voice of Dominique, the wonderful woman at the Apollo motorhome rental company at Hobart airport. Debatable, I’d thought to myself, but I knew she was right. Still, the idea of accidentally killing a poor animal trying to cross the road was heartbreaking to me.
Luckily, we drove right over the little possum without hitting it, and onwards we continued, driving down the dark road en route to our first campsite on Bruny Island.
We’d arrived in Hobart from Sydney earlier that day. We picked up our campervan, made a pit stop for supplies (mainly food and red wine) and made the journey to the small village of Kettering, where the vehicle ferry to Bruny Island departs every hour. It was a short journey of about 25-minutes, and before we knew it we were driving off the ferry and into the darkness.
24-HOURS ON BRUNY ISLAND
We decided to set up our first camp at the Neck, a long, sandy ‘isthmus’ which connects the south of Bruny Island to the north. For those, like me, who are unaware of the word ‘isthmus’, it basically means a narrow piece of land connecting two larger areas across an expanse of water that would otherwise be separated (thanks, Google).
Now, technically you’re not supposed to free camp in car parks like this, but it was dark, and we wanted to be close to the Neck for the following morning’s sunrise. If you do decide to free camp where you shouldn’t, please be aware that if a ranger spots you, you could be given a fine!
We were pretty tired after a day of travelling, so we made a quick dinner before falling asleep to the honking sounds of the fairy penguins and mutton birds in the sand dunes behind us. Other than those native birds, it was completely quiet.
A SPECTACULAR MORNING
The next morning, we woke just after six, and a quick peek out behind the curtain revealed a stunning sunrise starting to appear. We rugged up, and ran up the steps of the lookout, ready to witness a sunrise like no other.
With a very light morning breeze feeling fresh on our faces, we watched as the sun danced in one of the most spectacular arrays of colour I’ve ever seen. If you’ve been to Tasmania before, especially during late autumn or early winter, you’ll understand when I say that the sunrises and sunsets felt like they lasted forever. We stayed at the top of the lookout for well over an hour, watching the continuously changing light and colours in the sky. What a way to start our Tasmanian adventure!
Afterwards, we wandered back down to our van to make breakfast before heading south to Adventure Bay for our Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise, a Christmas gift from my Dad and his wife. But first, coffee.
One of the first things we noticed about Bruny Island was that it was super duper quiet. Apart from small houses dotting the coast, there wasn’t much happening. We decided to drive towards Adventure Bay, and if we found somewhere to stop for coffee, we would. I mean, that’s kind of the beauty of the van life, right?
As we cruised along the coastline, we kept our eyes out for coffee shops but ended up spotting something even more special – a white wallaby. These fairy-tale creatures look like something out of a children’s book and are unique to Bruny Island, where they are part of a thriving colony. Scott, with his hawk-like vision, spotted one of the little guys out of the corner of his eye during our drive towards Adventure Bay, and we swiftly pulled over the van to get a better look.
Unfortunately, the wallaby was chilling out in a paddock that was inaccessible to us, so we had to admire it from across the road. It was awesome to see one out in the open in the middle of the morning, especially since you can usually only spot them around dusk when the sun is setting.
ADVENTURES IN ADVENTURE BAY
Luckily, after our white wallaby sighting, it didn’t take us long to find a gorgeous little coffee shop just down the road. The Penguin on Bruny is a relatively new café in the area, opened only in November last year. We chose a sunny spot by the window, ordered a couple of lattes and admired the view of the water across the road.
The atmosphere of the Penguin was so friendly, and the staff were very chatty and happy to answer any questions we had about the island. We felt like we were locals, and that is exactly the kind of vibe I like to get from a café. The coffee was also great; despite being a popular dairy-free alternative for many, many years, it can be difficult to find a decent coffee made with soy milk. I’d definitely recommend stopping by the Penguin if you ever find yourself on Bruny Island.
After our coffee fix, it was time to head a little further south for our wilderness cruise.
BRUNY ISLAND CRUISES
When we arrived at Adventure Bay, we weren’t too sure what to expect from our wilderness cruise. It was a gift, after all. Once we got on the little yellow speedboat, we knew we were in for a treat!
Our tour guide was absolutely hilarious and had us in stitches from the beginning. I bloody love seeing people who so obviously adore their jobs, and genuinely love what they do; it really makes me want to find that for myself.
We began cruising south, decked out in our bright red jackets, eagerly looking around hoping to spot something exciting while we listened intently to our guides explaining our surroundings. The first thing I noticed was the insane colour of the water; it was incredibly clear and blue, something you’d expect from a beach in Queensland. As we got further south, I continued to be impressed by the incredible landscape around me.
We cruised past towering sea cliffs and gasped in awe when we pulled up alongside them and could truly appreciate their height – one had a drop of over 270 metres! I had to squat down in the boat and lean back to capture the entire cliffside in a photo. We then zoomed through the small gap between the cliffside and ‘The Monument’, an impressive tower of dolerite that juts up out of the water.
As we continued our journey down the eastern side of Bruny Island, we kept our eyes peeled for any wildlife – seabirds, dolphins, seals and maybe even migrating whales (even though it was very early in the season for those). We didn’t see any dolphins or whales, but we saw an abundance of beautiful seabirds, and plenty of big, fat stinky seals!
I got very, very excited when we came across the seals. I’m sure most of you understand the excitement I get when I see a dog and it’s basically the same. Seals are just sea dogs, right? Anyway, there they were, chilling out on the rocks. The boat slowed right down to a stop and our guides told us all about the Bruny Island seal colony as we watched the beautiful creature flop around, chase each other or just bake in the sun.
According to our guide, all the seals in Bruny Island are male. Every single one. It was like a massive bachelor pad of seals! During mating season, the boys go on a trip up north to the colony of females to mate. Then, they bring back with them the mature male seal pups to Bruny Island, and introduce them to life as a seal bachelor. Another thing I learnt was that not all male seals get to mate. Only the strongest, fittest and most boisterous seals have the opportunity to mate!
After admiring the seal colony, it was time to head back up towards Adventure Bay. Our guides decided to cruise back up the coast a bit further out to sea, just in case we spotted and migrating whales or dolphins, but sadly we didn’t see anything. We did, however, spot some plastic floating in the ocean, and the guides made the extra effort to turn the boat around and collect the debris from the ocean – it made me so happy to see this! Bruny Island Cruises are doing great work for the environment – all of their tours are 100% carbon offset and their energy use, water consumption and waste output are all measured through the internationally recognised EarthCheck system. It is really great to see companies who are so committed to sustainable practices!
Bruny Island Recap
Grab a coffee at… The Penguin on Bruny. It has a great atmosphere, a great view and great coffee… what more could you ask for?
Must do activity… Definitely do the Bruny Island Wilderness Cruise – you’ll see some incredible natural landscapes, cute but stinky seals and you’ll be in absolute stitches laughing at the tour guides!
Check out the incredible view at… The Neck! Seriously, photos just don’t do it justice how beautiful the view is, and you can pretty much see a 360-degree view from the top of the stairs!
Day Two: Eaglehawk Neck
I must admit that our visit to Eaglehawk Neck was a fleeting affair. We arrived in the darkness of the night after driving up from Bruny Island, and pulled up to free camp in a car park just above the Tessellated Pavement. After a quick dinner, we fell asleep to the sounds of the ocean lapping against the coast.
The next morning, Scott woke early to go and shoot the sunrise over the famous Tessellated Pavement, a unique geological phenomenon. The unusual look of the rock surface was formed by thousands of years of tidal erosion and is a very popular natural attraction amongst visitors to Tassie.
While Scott was shooting, I was sleeping. I try and get up early every day, especially when I’m travelling, but sometimes you just can’t make it out of bed! Once Scott came back up, he told me that the sunrise wasn’t anything special and that I didn’t miss anything. Oh, except for the friendly seal who popped up beside Scott to have a feed in the seaweed surround the shore. Aww man!
We popped up to the hotel behind the carpark that we slept in – the Lufra Hotel & Apartments, to grab a quick coffee before we headed down to Port Arthur to make breakfast by the water. Then, we decided to head straight up to coast towards Freycinet National Park, the home of the single place I wanted to visit most in Tasmania – Wineglass Bay.
Eaglehawk Neck Recap
Grab a coffee at… Hmm, the Lufra Hotel, I guess?
Must do activity… I can’t vouch for this but getting up early to watch the sun rise over the Tessellated Pavement was pretty cool, according to Scott (even if it was a bit cloudy and there wasn’t much colour). You may even spot a seal having brekky!
Check out the incredible view at… The Tessellated Pavement, of course! Once you see it in person, you’ll truly appreciate the power of the waves that must have caused the rocks to erode the way they did. Nature can be pretty incredible!
Day Three: Freycinet National Park
After a quick breakfast by the water in Port Arthur, we decided that it was time to drive the three or so hours to Coles Bay in the Freycinet National Park, since Scott wanted to get there and set up camp before the sunset.
So, off we went, with my favourite road trip playlist cranking and an entire day ahead of us.
As we cruised up the east coast of Tassie, my eyes were glued to the scenery. The state may be small, but it is absolutely full of natural beauty. As we neared our destination, we started to see the Hazards Range peeking through the fog from across the bay. We also noticed a little beach that looked so nice that we just had to pull the van over to explore.
It was called Spiky Beach, and it was beautiful. A narrow path led the way from the car park to the little beach, and we wandered towards the shore with grins as big as the sky. My favourite part about travelling in a campervan is easily the flexibility of being able to pull over and stop wherever you like and know that you have everything you need with you. If we hadn’t been short for time (seriously, 7 days isn’t nearly enough for a trip to Tassie) we probably would’ve camped at Spiky Beach overnight.
We had more to see, and more to do, however, so we admired the view for a while and continued on our way…
FREYCINET VISITOR CENTRE
We were lucky to arrive at the Freycinet Visitor Centre just before it closed for the afternoon. Located on the water at Coles Bay, the visitor centre offers a number of camping spots right next to the beach. What did we pay for this piece of prime campervan real estate? A whopping $16! What a bargain! I should warn you though, if you’re planning to visit in the summer months, it can get ridiculously busy, and camping spots are awarded via a ballot system in August. If you go there in early winter, like us, then you should be right to wander right on in and nab a spot!
At this point, we’d free camped twice and hadn’t had access to a proper campsite, so our water needed refilling and our van needed to be plugged into power to recharge. We figured we’d plug the van into power, wander over to the beach for sunset, then come back and cook dinner (and have a nice, long, hot shower).
When we got our extension cord out, we realised we had a problem.
It appeared that the cord had two female ends. If like me at the time, you don’t know what male and female ends of an extension cord are, it’s pretty simple. The end with the bits that stick out? Male. The end with the bit that doesn’t stick out? Female.
Anyway, we started to quietly freak out a bit. How could we have been given an extension cord that didn’t plug into our van? How were we going to charge our van for the rest of the week without one? We went for a drive to the only shop close by, and they couldn’t help. We decided to head back to camp and ask our neighbours if anyone could help us.
Luckily, the campsite was full of other travellers, most of whom were older, ‘grey nomad’ types. Surely someone would have a spare extension cord, right? Right??
Wrong. While very helpful, our neighbours didn’t have what we needed. Disappointed but realising we couldn’t do much about it, we decided to head down to the beach anyway and enjoy the sunset. The light was disappearing fast, and we didn’t want to miss out.
We made it just in time. There was a storm brewing, and the light was fading fast. Scott managed to set up his camera just before an epic double rainbow appeared behind the Hazards, a spectacular sight to see!
We watched the double rainbow in awe, with Scott snapping away furiously while I sat back and casually sipped on my nice, cold beer. Once the rainbows faded, the storm started to set in and a light shower began to come down. Time to head back to the van.
Oh yeah, the van.
We returned to our campsite, wondering how on earth we were going to conserve our power until we could find a new extension cord. Then, we heard a voice.
“Hey!” it cried. “We figured out what the problem is!”
Scott and I turned around to see the same grey nomad from earlier; our neighbour who’d tried to help us. He hurried over and walked us around to the other side of our van. “Look,” he said, “There’s a male plug right here on the other side!”
Scott and I looked at each other. In an instant, we started laughing. We felt so, so stupid. Why didn’t we even think to look on the other side of the van? I mean, when you open what you think is the right plug and find the wrong one, you don’t automatically assume the right one will be on the other side of the van. I had just assumed there was just the one. But who cares, we were saved! I truly wonder how long it would’ve taken us to realise our problem wasn’t a problem at all before our new friend saved the day. We thanked him profusely, and happily plugged our van into charge. Hallelujah!
Then, it was time for a hot shower, a yummy dinner and a nice sleep. We wanted to get up early the next morning to hike Mount Amos, and finally, see the world-renowned view that eastern Tasmania was famous for.
I woke the following morning full to the brim of excitement. One of the main reasons I wanted to visit Tasmania was because I’d seen a photo of Wineglass Bay and thought it was incredible. It was a place that I longed to see with my own eyes.
But first, we had to scale Mount Amos.
If you’ve done the hike, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say it was tough. Think ultra-steep! In fact, I’d say it was more of a scramble than a hike, considering I spend a lot of time squatting down, scrambling around while trying to climb up the steep, slippery surfaces. It was certainly a challenge, and there was a pretty great reward waiting for us at the top.
A bit over an hour later, we’d made it. It was fresh, but the hike had warmed me up significantly, so by the time we got to the top I was just wearing a crop top and tights. After a few minutes of admiring the view, I had to rug back up again, with the icy breeze on my bare skin cooling me right down. We explored the area atop Mount Amos for around an hour, continuously staring down at the stunning view of Wineglass Bay.
We considered doing the hike down to the beach itself, but unfortunately, we just didn’t have enough time. Plus, we thought it would be better to return when the weather was warmer, so we could actually enjoy the water!
So off we went, to make our way back down Mount Amos. I’m not going to lie, I had great pleasure in telling those we passed on the way back down that “the view is absolutely worth it!” and “you’re almost there!”
When we finally reached the base, we headed straight to our van for a snack (chips & hummus, anyone?) before heading off to our next destination – the Bay of Fires.
Freycinet National Park Recap
Grab a coffee at… We didn’t get a coffee ANYWHERE here… oops!
Must do activity… Hike Mount Amos! You can do the far easier walk to the Wineglass Bay lookout deck, but it is nowhere near as incredible as the view from the top of the mountain. Plus, the sense of satisfaction after hiking all that way is so worth it.
Check out the incredible view at… The top of Mount Amos, obviously!
Day Four: Bay of Fires
We arrived at the Bay of Fires about an hour or so before sunset. We parked our van in a little nook overlooking a tiny little beach. Where exactly this was, I’m not too sure as we were given the location from a mate via a pin on Google Maps. If you really want to do, send me a message and I’ll chase it up for ya.
After quickly setting up the van, we grabbed some beers and went for a wander over the orange lichen-covered granite boulders that the area is famous for. As we hopped, jumped and climbed over the rocks, we admired the beautiful white sandy beach and crystal-clear water and imagined how perfect the spot would be in summer when it is warm enough to swim.
Again, we were treated to a beautiful sunset, full of changing colours dancing across the sky as the sun said goodbye for another day. We cheers-ed our beers, and thought again, for probably the millionth time, about how lucky we were.
Earlier that afternoon, as we were setting up the van for an overnight stay, we also gathered some kindle for a small fire on the beach that we planned to have later that evening after dinner. When we returned from our sunset walk, we made a delicious pasta dish that we enjoyed with a couple of glasses of red. Then, we heard it.
The sound of rain on our roof.
Usually, this would be a welcome sound, but considering we’d planned a little fire on the beach, we were pretty disappointed. Scott had also wanted to shoot the stars from here, where the light pollution was low and the chance of seeing the stars in their full glory was high. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be, so we set our alarms for an early start, and went to bed.
ANOTHER BLOODY BEAUTIFUL SUNRISE
Our alarm woke us around 6am, and a quick peek behind the curtains on the van showed exactly what we wanted to see – a colourful, bright sunrise sky. We got dressed, grabbed the camera gear and off we went across the orange and red granite rocks to find the best spot to say hello to the sun.
I could see it every day and never tire of the incredible colours of the sky in the early morning. Without fail, just about every sunrise we saw in Tasmania was absolutely amazing, and this was no exception. Again, we sat in awe as we watched the light and colours change over an hour.
Then, we realised we were hungry.
Our little fire from the night before was still ready to go, and was dry again after the rain, so we thought it would be nice to light it over breakfast. I whipped up some delicious porridge while Scott got the little fire going. Then, we sat together on the beach to eat brekky; our toes warm, our bellies full, admiring a view that we wished we could wake up to every day.
After brekky on the beach, we decided to go for a little walk. We climbed over the huge boulders, looked in the many little rockpools, and kept our eyes peeled on the ocean for a glimpse of a seal or a dolphin. Then, it was time to begin our journey back down south.
THE BEST COFFEE IN TASSIE
As we began to back our way back down the east coast of Tasmania, a charming little seaside town caught our attention. Scamander is about an hour or so south of the Bay of Fires, and as we drove through the quiet main street, we felt a bit of a vibe about the place.
We then noticed a recycled shipping container on a small hill, and realised it was a coffee shop. We didn’t need much more convincing to pull over, even though we’d had a coffee just after leaving the Bay of Fires. We walked up, and instantly felt at home.
Swims East Coast Coffee is a funky little café in the heart of Scamander, and it served one of the best soy lattes I’ve ever had. Like I said before, it can be tough finding a decent soy milk coffee, especially in remote places like Tasmania. Oh man, it was delicious, and easily the best coffee I had on the entire trip. We sat on the bench inside the shipping container and watched dogs walk past and plenty of locals coming and going. I could’ve stayed there all day.
I couldn’t stay there all day though, because we had some more driving to do! Another 45 minutes, to be precise. We were on our way to Bicheno.
Bay of Fires Recap
Grab a coffee at… Swims East Coast Coffee, duh.
Must do activity… Watch the sun rise over the huge granite boulders scattered along the many little bays.
Check out the incredible view at… Literally anywhere along the coastline.
Day Five: Bicheno
It wasn’t long before we arrived in the lovely town of Bicheno, where we checked into the East Coast Holiday Park for the night. Happy to have another place to recharge the van and enjoy a hot shower, we settled in for the afternoon with some lunch in the van and some downtime.
Later on, we decided to go for a walk. Bicheno is pretty small, so we walked up to the Whalers Lookout, and from the top we could see most of the town, and plenty of the ocean. As we walked around, we spotted plenty of sea birds, and even a few seals chilling on the rocks just off Governor Island. As it was now nearing sunset, we strolled back to the van, grabbed some beers and made our way back down to the beach.
STOP – PENGUIN TIME
Some of you may already know that Bicheno is quite well-known for its fairy penguin population. Every night at dusk, the gorgeous little penguins make their way from the ocean and head for their homes in the sand dunes on the shore. After watching yet another great sunset from the rocks, we went and sat at the little beach off Waubs Bay, in anticipation of seeing a penguin or two waddle up onto the sand.
We knew we had to sit quietly and be very patient. There are specific tours where you can go to another private beach to watch the penguins make their nightly journey, but we didn’t want to pay for something we could potentially do for free. So, we decided to risk it and wait to see if we could spot them anyway.
As the night got darker, we watched with bated breath for a fairy penguin to appear from the water. There were a few other people wandering around at this point, and they were being quite loud as they stomped around the beach flashing their torches. We sighed, and hoped that their noise wouldn’t discourage the penguins from coming in.
After about half an hour, the other people had finally made it to the other end of the beach, making it nice and quiet where we were sitting. We hadn’t moved an inch the entire time. Just as we were about to give up, two tiny fairy penguin appeared literally right beneath our feet, so close that if I’d reached out, I would have been able to touch them. I didn’t, of course, and the minute that they spent in front of us, waddling around the sand, was incredible.
After our penguin spotting mission had been successfully completed, we went back to town for some dinner at a local Chinese restaurant before heading to bed.
THE SINGLE BEST SUNRISE
I know I’ve said this about ten times already in this blog post, but the next morning we actually saw the best sunrise of the trip. Hands down.
Scott woke up slightly earlier than I did, so he left to go set up his camera gear down at the same beach we’d spotted the penguins at the previous night. Around fifteen minutes later, I followed him down there, my mouth wide open in awe the entire way.
The whole sky was pink.
It was so beautiful, and again, it felt like it lasted forever. It’s worth going to Tasmania purely to watch the sunrises and sunsets… they’ll make you believe in magic.
Grab a coffee at… Pasini’s, which is located on the main street of Bicheno!
Must do activity… Go penguin spotting at the beach. If you feel like dropping $35 and be guaranteed a sighting, then go for a penguin tour. Otherwise, if you’re feeling stingy (and lucky) then head down to the beach and try and spot them yourself! Remember to stay still, be quiet and keep out of their way.
Check out the incredible view at… the top of the Whalers Lookout!
Day Six: Port Arthur
I’d like to take this moment to thank you profusely if you are still reading this colossal blog post. It has literally taken me three months to write this! So thank you, and well done. Give yourself a pat on the back.
We’ve made it to Port Arthur!
We headed straight for the Remarkable Cave, which is about 10 minutes south of Port Arthur. I’d never heard of it before, but as it is a popular spot for surfers, Scott was all over it. We parked the van in the car park at the Maingon Bay lookout and went to have a look at the waves.
The swell was getting pretty wild at this stage, and it was awesome to watch the water from the viewing platform over Maingon Bay. We then decided to go have a look at the Remarkable Cave itself. We had to go down roughly 130 steps before we made it to the platform where we could see the view out to sea.
It was incredible watching the powerful waves rush through the cave, then retreat almost as quickly as they rushed in. There was a sign at the viewing platform too, and it showed old photos of the cave from many, many years ago. It was fun to spot the differences between the older photos and the view we had ourselves, noticing the parts where erosion had occurred. Nature never ceases to amaze me!
Afterwards, we went back up the stairs to go explore the Mount Brown track; a long, sandy path around the headland. It was a long walk, and since it was nearing dusk we didn’t go all the way, but the area was so beautiful. Tasmania is just like one big nature magazine, with each page more gorgeous than the last. It is so hard to find such untouched scenery these days, so we really appreciated it.
AURORA AUSTRALIS SPOTTING
Due to the lack of light pollution, the stars were out in full force that night. After an involuntary early evening nap while Scott was out shooting, I made us a quick dinner and poured the red wine. Scott came back in, ready for dinner. We chatted and drank wine and ate until it was time for bed. Well, for me, anyway.
Scott wanted to stay up and shoot the Aurora Australis, also known as the Southern Lights. A low bank of cloud had appeared while we were eating, so his hopes weren’t high, but still he was willing to brave the freezing cold to try and see it and capture a photo.
I fell asleep, and he wandered back into the van just after midnight, his fingers colder than ice. The conditions weren’t great or what he was hoping for, but he did manage to capture a good shot. You’ll have to wait until his new website is live to see it, though!
PORT ARTHUR HISTORIC SITE
The next day was our last full day in Tasmania. We woke up with the sun, made brekky, and decided to check out the famous Port Arthur Historic Site.
For those unfamiliar with Australian history, the Port Arthur Historic Site was where all the convicts from England were shipped in the 1800’s. The site has been maintained over time and is in excellent condition today. We did the free walking tour, which goes for about half an hour before you’re left to wander around the grounds on your own. I highly recommend doing the walking tour first, as the information you’re given throughout will help you understand the rest of the grounds!
I was truly amazed at how much history this place held, and how much there was to learn. The site is actually part of eleven historic places in Australia that form the Australian Convict Sites World Heritage Property, and as such was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2010.
There’s a lot to see and do at the Port Arthur Historic Site and depending on your level of interest in the history side of things, I’d recommend spending at least a half day to a full day exploring the grounds. For just $39, you get two full consecutive days to explore!
TASMANIAN DEVIL UNZOO
As a vegan, I am rather sceptical about visiting zoos and wildlife parks, and I always research them beforehand to ensure that they are run ethically with conservation and breeding efforts a high priority. We’d driven past the Tasmanian Devil ‘Unzoo’ on our way down to Port Arthur, and I was keen to find out exactly what an ‘unzoo’ was.
The Unzoo is located on a huge property on the Tasman Peninsula, full of native flora and fauna. Much of the grounds is unfenced, meaning that local wildlife such as kangaroos and wallabies, are able to come and go as they please. Of course, there are Tasmania devils.
The devils live in large enclosures, and while the Unzoo previously began a breeding program back in the 1980’s, it is now more of a ‘retirement home’ for older devils. In the early 2000’s, the Tasmanian devil population suffered a major blow due to the discovery of ‘Devil Facial Tumour Disease’, a type of cancer that was killing off the devils at a rapid rate. The Unzoo began conservation efforts immediately and managed to save a large portion of the devil population on the Tasman Peninsula.
Satisfied with the ethics of the ‘Unzoo’, we were more than happy to explore it. We were taken on an awesome guided walk around the grounds, where we learned about native plants, trees and wildlife. Our guide was super passionate, which made me super happy to see.
After the walk, we went back into the main section of the grounds, where we were met by many, many kangaroos and wallabies ready for a feed. As I mentioned before, the grounds aren’t enclosed so the native animals can come and go as they please. They know, however, exactly what time the guided walk ends, because that is when they get fed!
We got up close and personal with the adorable Australian icons, feeding them pellets and patting their soft fur. They were very, very friendly! Did I mention how cute they were? Once feeding time was over, we went around to the devil enclosure. It was time for the devil to have his lunch!
I was really excited, considering I had never seen a Tasmanian devil in real life before. It was a lot bigger than I imagined and pretty weird looking. We watched him chow down on some kind of small mammal’s leg (mmm, delightful) while we asked the handler everything we ever wanted to know about the funny little creatures.
If you’d like to learn more about the Tasmanian Devil Unzoo and how you can help Save the Devils, then click here!
THE RACE TO SHIPPIES
If you’ve never heard of Ship Stern Bluff, then you’re in the same boat as me. I had no idea that one of the world’s most renowned big wave surfing locations was on the Tasman Peninsula until Scott informed me he wanted to check it out. Unfortunately, our day was pretty chockers with the Port Arthur Historic Site and the Tassie Devil Unzoo, so we decided we didn’t have enough time.
Then, when we arrived at the Unzoo, the friendly owner was having a chat to us about our trip as we were buying our tickets and he mentioned the big swell. Scott’s ears perked up immediately (just like they do when you say the words ‘Skiing’ or ‘Oscar’), and they began chattering away excitedly in surf speak.
“Have you been down to Shippies?” the owner asked Scott, who shook his head as he replied, “No, I wanted to, but we didn’t have enough time!” The owner’s eyes widened. “Mate, you’ve got to check it out!” Scott gave me a look. “Yeah yeah, let’s go after this then,” I said.
So, after our visit to the Unzoo, we raced out of there and made a mad dash down to Shippies. We arrived at the car park, and half jogged along the long bush track out to the lookout point. We made it just in time to watch the glowing, golden afternoon sun fall beneath the horizon, casting beautiful light across the ocean. We admired the view for a while, but then we had to head back before it got fully dark.
Plus, we had to drive back to Hobart.
Port Arthur Recap
Grab a coffee at… The coffee at the Port Arthur Historic Site was surprisingly really good!
Must do activity… The Tassie Devil Unzoo; it was such a cool concept for a zoo, and for anyone who is visiting who isn’t an Australian, this place will be extra special for you and is a safe, easy way to interact with some local wildlife!
Check out the incredible view at… SHIPPIES!
Day Seven: Hobart
We camped overnight in a car park near the water and had just enough time the following morning for breakfast before we had to return our campervan and head to the airport.
We discovered the gorgeous café/homewares store, Abundance on the Quay, on Clarence Street and knew it was the perfect place to have brekky. The entire café had a great vibe, and the coffee & food was awesome. Also, it was really lucky that we had to fly home, otherwise I would’ve maxed out my credit card in the homewares section – damn, they had some incredible stuff!
Sadly, that was pretty much all we got to see in Hobart. We wanted to hike Mount Wellington and explore the city a bit, but we just ran out of time. We will have to go back!
That being said, I’m not going to do a Hobart recap since all we did was get brekky and sleep in a car park. Let me know all the things you’ve gotten up to in Hobart in the comments!